8 Easy tips to ensure your freshwater fish are happy and healthy
Sudden changes in a fish’s water conditions can be harmful or even fatal. To be safe, ask your local fish store for information regarding the conditions the fish (you are purchasing) is kept in. Specifically nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH levels. When you are home test your own tank, if there is a drastic variation provide more time for your fish to slowly get acclimated to your tank.
Ensure the bag your fish was sold in is sealed well then place the bag floating in your fish tank for a minimum of 15 minutes (a maximum of 1 hour) to allow the fish to get used to the temperature and prevent shock. Open the bag and add 1/4 a cup of water from your tank. Repeat this every 5 minutes until the bag is full. This allows the fish to get acclimated to both the temperature and parameters of your tank. Empty some of the water into a sink carefully but make sure to leave enough water for the fish to be immersed, lower the bag into your tank and allow the fish to swim out and into your tank.
Overstocking can lead to low oxygen levels which are potentially fatal and excess (fish or food) waste which may clog your filter and decrease water quality. Too many fish in small spaces may cause fatalities. To prevent this check with your fish store to ensure that you have the optimal sized tank for your fish.
Water is critical in ensuring your fish’s short and long-term health. Water for fish is like the air in our atmosphere for humans. Proper water conditions are critical to your fish’s long-term health. Water from the tap comes with countless properties that need to be balanced in a fish tank in order to support healthy aquatic life. To ensure water is conditioned properly, use a de-chlorinating and biological fish tank supplement from your local aquatics or pet store.
pH can measure the alkalinity or acidity of fish tank water. Ensure you always have a pH test and use it to check frequently on your tanks conditions monitoring pH levels. The recommended pH levels for freshwater fish are between 6.6 and 7.8 dependent on the type of fish. Keeping the recommended pH levels will help aid your fish’s ability to resist illness and prevent disease.
It is recommended to remove and refill at least 25% of your fish tank water at a minimum of once a month (it’s better to do it every week). This will help maintain nitrate levels without interrupting the biological cycle within your tank and also ensure that your tank is both clean and healthy. When changing water use a gravel siphon, ensuring you move and clean underneath ornaments. Keeping clean stable water will ensure that your fish have the opportunity to thrive.
Keep a consistent temperature within your fish tank. Avoid placing fish tanks near windows prone to getting a lot of sun or near heaters or fans/air conditioning units, drastic temperature changes can be fatal. Tropical freshwater fish will need a constant temperature of 72°F-82°F depending on the type of fish, a heater is imperative to maintain these levels.
Algae growth on fish tank glass, throughout the water and on ornaments will decrease oxygen levels inside the fish tank, which may harm both fish and live plants. Pet stores have many items available to help, these include magnetic scrub brushes and scrub brushes with long handles. Fluval Moss Balls also absorb and trap nitrates and phosphates for as many as 2 months, keeping water cleaner and preventing algae growth.
With a small amount of work you can ensure you provide a well-managed and healthy environment for both you and your fish to enjoy.